In 2021, the month of Lesbian Visibility is celebrated in the year in which the decision of the Federal Supreme Court (STF) that recognized the same-sex stable union completes ten years. The Court’s understanding legitimized the right of people of the same sex to start a family, another step in guaranteeing full citizenship to the LGBTQIA+ population. With this, the legislation made room for lesbian mothers to register their children with dual maternity, an achievement to be celebrated this August.
Ten years is also a significant period for teacher Daniella Santos, 45, and storyteller Gisele França, 36. The two women from Pernambuco met in 2004, but only in 2014 did they find themselves ready to fully live a relationship. At the time, Gisele’s daughter, Sofia França, a result of the previous union, was already 3 years and 8 months old. It was in a natural and gradual process that she also came to understand Daniella as a mother.
“At no time did Sofia question my decision to leave her father and date a woman. As a child, she showed happiness and maturity, even when she was being pressured by others”, recalls Gisele.
“I educate Sofia to always speak the truth and believe in love, I have the attitude of talking about anything before any distortion and parental alienation, so I just said: Dani is Mom’s girlfriend. To my happiness, the two identified immediately, they seemed to have known each other for centuries. Something spiritual that left me calm”, she adds.
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Daniella didn’t even imagine that she “would have the honor” – as she defines it – of being called by Sofia mother. She even discouraged her, thinking thus to protect her from prejudice.
“I remember once that Sofia came home very upset saying she heard a joke: someone had said that her father at that time was a woman. I tried to explain, even without her having asked, that I had no intention of replacing either Mom or Dad, that Dani was there to help educate her, and what really mattered was love. With a broken heart, I called her and said that she didn’t have to call me Mom,” she recalls.
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However, the girl Sofia guarantees that she couldn’t convince her: “She didn’t authorize it, but I started calling her mother Dani, even though people told me that I could only have one mother and that I had one father, that Dani I had separated my mother from her”, he says.
In the end, Sofia calls Daniella in several different ways: Dani, Mom Dani, and Mom Dani. “I have a science that respects me as a mother and the certainty that love will always win”, declares the teacher.
the arrival of the twins
Years later, the couple decided to undergo in vitro fertilization to have more children. The result was the pregnancy of twins Joaquim and Laís, now 2 years and 8 months old. Gisele remembers the anticipation that surrounded the family at that time: the three went up the hill to Conceição, in the northern part of Recife, to make a promise to Nossa Senhora da Conceição, mother of Jesus.
“I made a point of letting Sofia participate in the entire process, from the consultations to the final phase. When we became pregnant (I consider that Dani also became pregnant, although she didn’t), Sofia was also present in the organization of the trousseau, nursery, photo shoot and gave her opinion regarding the names of the babies”, says Gisele.
Until today, the couple lives motherhood intensely. “We haven’t even been able to sleep a full night yet, we’re exhausted. However, our complicity, patience and understanding make us enjoy every moment”, he adds.
“I’m proud to be the daughter of two mothers”
Now 11 years old, Sofia has two mothers, a father and a stepmother, in addition to her little brothers. Interested in reading, the girl conducts an Instagram profile to talk about books, where she also talks, naturally, about her family background. In fact, a posture he adopts wherever he goes.
“I feel good and I talk spontaneously about my mothers, I admire them and I’m proud of them, so I won’t hide it. I don’t think they are doing anything wrong, they are always respecting people and living our family, taking care of me and my siblings. I am proud to be the daughter of two mothers! Dani usually says that I taught her how to be a mother, that today she is a good mother because of me, and that makes me very happy”, she says.
She says she doesn’t feel any different about it. “On the contrary, I am proud to be part of this movement in favor of love, for my brothers, for my mothers, for me and for all families like mine.”
hope for the future
Despite the happy family, the couple recognizes that it is not easy to be a lesbian mother in Brazil. Daniella is afraid of what is to come, and fears for what Joaquim and Laís might face. “People still have a lot of prejudice, they show it in their attitudes and speech. They claim to be tolerant, but at the first opportunity they express their real opinion, do not accept and do not naturally recognize our family”, he laments.
Still, confidence grows when you think of new young people. “Sofia is an example of this new generation that has been created to respect differences, respect people or respect who people are, we believe that many have been educated to respect others, and this fills us with hope.”
Source: BoF Pernambuco
Edition: Vanessa Gonzaga